Group bulletin: 20 January 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

20 January 2023


Greetings Colleagues!

Winter arrived this week as the cold snap hit us and the gritters are now hard at work to keep us moving. The LGA has a severe weather hub which your council will find useful and help your authority prepare for, and react to, bad weather and ensure effective communication with your residents.

The big news this week is that we carried out formal interviews with a very strong set of applicants, indicating the strength of our group. We have successfully secured an excellent National Lead Peer for the Independent Group, ready for a secure hand-over from Cllr Mike Haines, who steps down in July. You will remember the team of accredited peers are colleagues ready to assist our councils and councillors to improve. Welcome to Councillor Adam Paynter. Adam is a Cornwall Councillor, Deputy Leader of the Independent Group on his Council and currently serves on the County Councils Network. He is already an LGA Peer and has previously held a number of portfolios within his 21 years of being a Councillor, including being Leader of Cornwall Council, Lead Member for Finance, Environment and Heritage as well as Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Councillors Joanne Beavis and Jim McKenna who put in strong applications for the role and bring some great ideas. Joanne is doing an excellent job as our Regional Lead Peer and Jim McKenna now joins this team serving the South West.

It is heartening to see the LGA Independent Group is a team and we are all working together for the same goal, which is to improve the quality of life for our residents and our communities.

Many of you know our long-standing political assistant, Noleen Rosen very well. She has now been “nabbed” by the legal team to work on the Covid-19 Inquiry for Local Government for at least the next 6 months. Noleen has an enormous wealth of knowledge and has always supported us with administration, events management and sound advice. We shall certainly miss her presence both within the office and in the group, however, on behalf of the LGA Independent Group I wish her all the very best of success in her new role at the LGA and thank her for the incredible work she has done for the group over the years. We owe her an enormous debt of gratitude.

‘Levelling up’ funds

The delayed funds for “levelling up”, are vital for a number of Councils where we have strong Independent Group members and leaders of Council. Of the 525 bids received last August, the Government has named only 111 areas that will get a share of the £2.1bn available, meaning just over a fifth were successful. And still, questions remain as to what ‘levelling-up’ really means and the criteria for funding lacking purpose and clarity. More importantly, it is not getting through to enough areas which desperately need funding now. The full list of successful bids have been how been released.

‘Elect Her’ - £500 grants available!

‘Elect Her’ have £500 grants available for women in the process of standing for election in May 2023 local elections to support with the personal costs of running a campaign. We also have additional access funds for d/Deaf and Disabled women standing.

  • Are you a woman who is actively seeking to address the needs of your community?
  • Are you planning to stand or are you in the process of standing in the May 2023 elections?
  • Are you from an underrepresented group, or have an under-represented experience?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, apply now! The Deadline is this Sunday 22nd January!

Voter ID Campaign launched

As you know, on Thursday 4th May 2023, local elections are taking place across England. To vote at a polling station, for yourself, or as a proxy, you will now need to bring photo ID. We campaigned hard against the introduction of photo ID so close to the elections and many of our members have been vociferous in meetings and in the press. The Government has been determined to go ahead regardless of the risks in the security of the result, which may be close where even one voter incorrectly turned away, could make a difference to the outcome and result in a court case. We have asked to join a working group to guide the implementation, seeking ways to overcome the risks.  The Electoral Commission has just launched its awareness campaign and provides further information and guidance on accepted forms of ID. Anyone can now apply now for a voter ID card, but you will need a digital passport photo ready and your National Insurance number to hand.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority invites graduates

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) group is calling on graduates to help deliver its mission and take part in the one of the most important environmental programmes in the world. Applications are now open for a new NDA group graduate programme, with roles in around 20 different professional disciplines and various locations in all corners of the UK. Opportunities vary from radiation protection to accountants, engineers to cyber security specialists and commercial officers to project managers. There are various options to develop a long lasting and meaningful career, suitable for a diverse range of people, with applicants supported at the end of the programme to secure a longer-term role. To find out more about the scheme and the application criteria, graduates can visit the NDA group graduate programme website.

Review of Net Zero

Thank you for your responses to the Government’s review on net zero which we previously shared. At the LGA we have a cross party working group supporting the Boards to tackle climate change and the impacts of climate change. Following that consultation, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy published the findings of the Net Zero Review, and the final report Mission Zero, last Friday, the 13th.

Chaired by former Energy Minister Chris Skidmore MP, the final report, makes over one hundred recommendations - covering areas including the role that business can play and delivering more energy efficient homes - to maximise economic investment, opportunities and jobs, while working towards achieving legally binding targets to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Many of our Councils have an earlier target of 2030 or 2032.

Boosting Middle Leaders: pilot programme 

 The Local Government Association and Leadership Centre will be running a new pilot programme in Spring 2023.  We have taken our ‘Leading Edge’ programme for officers and Members and refreshed it for pipeline leaders in collaboration with Leadership Centre.  The programme is aimed at bringing together officers and members to boost empathy and understanding, build relationships, and to equip them with the perspectives and practices they need to serve their places and citizens. Thereafter, the pilot will be developed into a broader offer to middle leaders: this is a chance to shape it.  

The pilot will comprise a residential session, hosted in Sheffield on 2nd and 3rd March 2023. 

The LGA and Leadership Centre are seeking those who are in the pipeline to the most senior roles – for example cabinet members, leaders of the opposition or scrutiny chairs from any political group (including Independents) are invited to apply. On the officer side, candidates might be a head of service, assistant director, or at director level.  

If you would like to, apply please follow this link: apply here.


Decarbonising transport (virtual webinar)
24 January 2023, 10.00am – 11.30am

Transport is now the biggest emitter of carbon of any sector in the UK. If we are to reach our target of net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, we will need a fundamental transformation of the ways we move. This webinar will share good practice examples from experts and councils who are developing and delivering decarbonising transport strategies and provision.

Delivering custom and self-build homes (virtual webinar)
Wednesday 25 January 2023, 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Custom and self-build homes can play a key role in contributing to net supply while providing a host of other benefits. This event will enable delegates to find out more about how councils are working to make custom and self-build homes accessible to more people, as well as hearing from self-builders themselves.

Smith Square Debate: The future of adult social care
On Thursday 26 January, 5-6.30pm, we are hosting our second Smith Square debate!

This virtual debate will focus on the future of adult social care and how people’s lives would be different if we did things differently. 

Take a look at the event page on the LGA website for more information, view the great line-up of speakers and to register.

Handling online abuse and intimidation (virtual webinar)
Wednesday 1 February 2023, 6.00pm – 7.30pm

Many councillors say that they are reporting unprecedented levels of abuse and threats on social media. This practical programme will provide attendees with an awareness of the steps that can be taken to manage trolls and cyber-bullies, including a gentle introduction to the legal framework around social media posts.

Digitalisation Councillor Masterclasses: Exploring the 12 outcomes of local government digitalisation (virtual)
1 February – 8 February 2023

In February, the LGA is hosting a programme of local government digitalisation masterclasses for councillors. This programme has been designed to demystify digitalisation. Councillors will be provided with the tools to lead and engage with their council’s digitalisation journey, using the 12 local government digitalisation outcomes as a benchmark. The classes will be helpful for leaders, deputy leaders, portfolio holders with responsibility for digital agendas, and members with an interest in cyber, digital and technology. You do not need any prior knowledge of digitalisation to attend this training. To book onto the masterclasses please complete this form, and for further information please email

No homeless veterans: Help Local Authorities identify and respond to the needs of homeless veterans (virtual webinar)
Wednesday 8 February 2023, 10.30am - 12.00pm

The webinar will be an opportunity for councils to hear about the aims of the No Homeless Veterans campaign and learn how by using toolkits developed by the campaign councils can better identify and support veterans and address homelessness for veterans. Delegates are encouraged to read about the campaign beforehand.

The Net Zero Innovation Programme 2021/22 Showcase (virtual webinar)
Thursday 9 February 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm

The webinar will be a showcase of the LGA and UCL’s Net Zero Innovation Programme 2021/22 cohort. Attendees will hear from some of the projects that have been delivered and how these can be scaled to help other councils. It will be a great opportunity to learn about partnership working and provide training for councils to use the products created.

DCN Annual Conference
23 to 24 February 2023

We’re delighted to announce that the DCN Annual Conference is back in February 2023 and booking is now open. We’re also moving to a new location: the beautiful Sopwell House near St. Alban’s, Hertfordshire and we are looking forward to seeing you at this fantastic venue.

As with previous conferences, delegates will have the chance to engage with high-profile speakers, including government ministers and MPs across the political spectrum, local government partners, leaders from the private sector and other walks of life. There’ll also be interactive sessions showcasing best practice and innovation in service delivery, and championing the work of DCN member councils. This will be a brilliant chance to meet others in our network and across local government, and to discuss current issues with officers, elected members, leading thinkers and inspirational speakers.

We will be sending further updates on our speaker programme as it develops. Confirmed speakers currently include: Professor Tony Travers, Helen Barnard (Associate Director, Joseph Rowntree Foundation), Adam Hawksbee (Director, Onward), Professor Colin Copus, Barry Quirk (formerly Chief Executive of Kensington & Chelsea Borough Council) and Jackie Weaver.

Useful information:

Cost: £459 + VAT per delegate including accommodation at the venue and all meals for the duration of the conference.

Accommodation at the venue is limited and we’re therefore offering on a ‘first come first serve’ basis. Please book now to secure your place, at what is sure to be a popular event. As a result this year we’re offering an off-site option at a reduced cost: £399 + VAT.

This will be at the St. Alban’s City Centre Premier Inn in the heart of the historic city close to the amenities of St. Alban’s. This option will see a regular shuttle bus to and from the conference venue, and still includes all meals for the duration, including lunches and dinner at Sopwell House.

Registration time (and lunch): 12:00 on 23rd FebruaryStart time: 13:00 on 23rd February Finish time: 14:00 on 24th February

Booking is now open 


Wishing you all the very best in your preparations for the Council elections, finding candidates and getting everyone together and focussed. Speaking to our Council Leaders from across the Country, I am very impressed at the brave and vitally necessary improvements they are making in their council areas. I know that is reflected right across the country, wherever our councillors are at work. There are a great many excellent events coming up, so I hope to see you soon, in person or online. Thank you for all you do. Let me know if I can help with anything.

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE
Leader of the Independent Group
Vice Chair of the Local Government Association

Portrait photo of Councillor Marianne Overton, Leader of the LGA Independent Group